A Chinese airline has promised to brush up on the language skills of its employees after a flight took off from a Japanese airport without clearance, apparently because the pilot could not speak enough English to understand the instructions that he was given by air traffic control.
The incident is the latest in a string of mishaps that have raised serious questions over pilot training in the booming Asian aviation market.
According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation, Asia will be short of about 9,000 pilots per year in the next decade. There is enough capacity to train 5,000 pilots but 14,000 will be needed every year. In total, the ICAO predicts that Asia will need 229,676 pilots over the next 20 years – a significant increase from the total of 50,344 in 2010.